Free The Nipple — Breasts Are Not Just For Sexual Gratification

A global campaign to #freethenipple, as the hashtag puts it, is taking the media by storm. News flash — women’s breasts are not sex objects. They have a function (breastfeeding), and are no different than a man’s nipples, save for being larger and having the capacity to produce milk for a growing infant. It turns out it has been our own perverted minds all along which have prevented women from showing their breasts in public.

Hold on to your socks! Have we just shown nudity on the Interwebs!? Well, technically, yes, but not in the way you think. The picture above is not of a woman, but of a man. The controversy, however, is that these nipples show an uncanny resemblance to those of a woman’s nipples (at least, our imaginary idea of what they should look like) leaving us with the question, why do we have a problem with women showing their bare chest when men are okay to do so?

The answer, according to psychologists, is that we have sexualized women, which means we have socially and culturally decided that being a woman is an inherently sexual thing. And the consequences of this are very bad. Everything from childhood obesity and anorexia, to teen suicides, to rape culture and breakdowns in marriages and relationships can be attributed to the false assumption that a woman’s body is a sexual object to be covered up and not looked upon lest we are overcome by lust. Like a thirsty vampire, lustful men (and women), upon seeing a woman’s nipple, will go into an uncontrollable sex frenzy, leading to the inevitable violence of rape.

This is, of course, an absurd proposition, but one which has its roots in Puritanism, a Christian tradition which treats women as Garden-of-Eden apple-eaters that stop at nothing to become witches and tempt men into acts of sin — especially lust — because Satan himself disguises himself in the form of a woman’s nude skin. We might also blame the proliferation of pornography on the web, which is so widespread that the British government have formulated a porn literacy curriculum to help children cope with the twisted portrayal of intimacy in the typical web porn video.

The free the nipple campaign has even inspired a movie by the same name.

Some people argue that this is idealism gone crazy, because men will find women’s nipples erotic even if it is for a good cause and thus men will support this cause if only to stare at naked women’s breasts. However, this line of argument feeds into the victim-blaming culture, which places the burden on those who are subject to another’s bad behaviour to change, as opposed to the one whose behaviour needs changing. The comedian Chelsea Handler weighed in on the subject poignantly.